Stories of Struggle and Success in Our Schools

We are parents, teachers, students and community members with stories to tell. We want to rise above the politics and news headlines and talk about what’s working and what needs to improve for Chicago’s kids.

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To Boost College Admissions Equity, Let’s Support High-Achieving Freshmen of Color

The first year of high school is a challenge to everyone. CPS has increased supports for high school freshmen, but high-achievers are still shorted. A new report suggests this has lasting consequences for district equity in college admissions. In a district where many students may have attended the same school from kindergarten through eighth grade, ninth grade means finding a…

Embarc Takes Kids Who Have Never Seen the Lake on Journeys that Blow their Minds

Recently, my colleague Tanesha Peeples had the chance to sit down with Amanda Long, a former teacher at Fenger High, and Imran Khan, a fomer teacher at Harper High School. Khan and his Harper colleague January Miller cofounded Embarc, a nonprofit that partners with 18 CPS high schools to provide three years of community-based experiential education, or “journeys,” that inspire…

A Love Letter to Parents of Kids With Special Needs and Disabilities

Dear Fellow Parent Warriors, While every parent has strong feelings during the early part of the school year—excitement, nerves, even a little worry—our special tribe of parents with children who have IEPs (Individualized Education Plan) or 504 plans feel all those feelings plus some. Our worries are much more complex than just wondering whether our kids will fit in (we…

Let CPS Run Pre-K Admissions

Let’s end the horror stories from parents about trying to enroll in CPS PreK. The obvious answer: let CPS handle the enrollment system. Ironically, CPS doesn’t manage its own preK enrollment process. The City of Chicago handles it through the Chicago Early Learning web site. If folks need help live, they don’t go to the places where they hope to…

Resources for Teaching About the Kavanaugh Nomination

It’s never easy to tackle highly-charged issues in the classroom. The recent furor over whether Brett Kavanaugh is fit to serve as a Supreme Court Justice is particularly complicated. The Kavanaugh hearings have sparked emotion and controversy across a range of issues: huge outpourings of stories from survivors of sexual assault, arguments about political partisanship and executive privilege, and questions…

The Furor over Fingerprints for LSC Members

Can CPS protect kids from sexual predators and immigrant parents from deportation at the same time? That’s the question behind the fuss over fingerprinting for undocumented LSC members. (According to a Tweet from Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, CEO Janice Jackson said she was “open to dialogue” on the topic.) In 1999, a state law was passed requiring…

This Week in CPS: College Enrollment Rises among CPS Grads and Latinx Students Lead the Charge

There’s good news today about college enrollment for CPS graduates. New data show that about two-thirds of the graduating class of 2017 enrolled in college. Moreover, new tweaks to data collection now include students who start in the spring semester after graduation or attend certain Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other schools. This new method of c bring…